Can Do!

03-29-2013 017As I mentioned previously, I have a huge backlog of fruit waiting to be canned in my freezer.  But before I could even face that task, I had a sad failure to face down:  my last batch of marmalade.  In fact, I haven’t broken out my canner since I made it MONTHS ago.  The recipe was for a Grapefruit Marmalade with Vanilla and Rosewater (strange, I know.  But soooooo good), and I don’t know where I went wrong!  It tasted and smelled divine, but as time passed it became clear that it just wasn’t going to gel.  Bummer.  But since I am a very stubborn so and so, I refused to throw out those perfectly sealed jars, and instead called the Pomona’s Pectin Jamline.  Pomona’s is a special kind of two part pectin, which doesn’t rely on sugar to gel, so you can use only as much sugar as your taste dictates rather than the insane pile of the stuff that ordinary pectin demands. The lady who answered my call was so helpful, and it’s a good thing I called because from what she said, the way I was going to attempt to reprocess (reheating the marmalade and sprinkling in some pectin powder) would have been a disgusting failure.  See,  if there is already a large proportion of sugar, as was the case, the pectin would not have distributed properly and instead would have formed nasty globs and grains.  Eeeew.  What I was told to do instead was dissolve the pectin separately in a cup of boiling water, stir vigorously until it dissolved, and then dump the mess (which looked suspiciously like frogspawn at this point) into my heated marmalade, and can from there.  I would share the recipe, but as I said it didn’t work initially, and you don’t want to take the same convoluted path I took to get here, trust me!  Perhaps an edited version is in order…  But how did it turn out?  Beautifully!  The chewy bits of peel taste like those old fashioned orange section candies, with just enough grapefruit bitterness to keep it interesting, and a touch of sweet vanilla and just the faintest suggestion of rose.  Perfect for all those sophisticated high teas that I serve to highfallutin’ ladies in frilly white lace frocks.  At my trailer in the boondocks, yeah….  And awesome on an English Muffin.  Maybe with Nutella, oh boy!   The Boonville Farmer’s Market will be opening before you know it in early April, so if you’ve got to try some come see me there!

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Valentines Day!

Well I’m not quite sure how to begin, so let’s start with today.  Valentine’s Day. 168093775_325af57b48_o
Not a happy day day for a lot of folks, I know.  But I can’t complain, I have a lot of love coming my way and a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is my studly husband, and awesome crazy kids.  Love is indeed in the air today on this full moon, as I listen to the sounds of our horny, lovelorn pet dwarf rabbit chasing our poor, confused Maine Coon cat about the kitchen.  But enough of that, let me give you a taste of the raison d’etre for this blog, to familiarize you all with the goings on Bellair Farm.  We are a small, chemical free homestead in Central Missouri.  Right now, in the offseason I am keeping busy by launching a natural bodycare line, you can check it out here: Bellair Apothecary

Today I made a fabulous rose cream
Is there anything more perfectly fragrant than a rose?  Well, maybe the smell of a newborn’s scalp, but few smells can really compete with the Queen of Flowers.  And she is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.  One of the featured ingredients in this blend is rose floral wax.  At first glance it bears a striking resemblance to black tar, but when you lean in the smell it, that unmistakably rosy perfume rises to meet your nose.  Floral wax is composed of natural plant waxes, generally from flowers which are too delicate to be steam distilled such as rose, jasmine, and tuberose, and adds fragrance and body to the final product when blended into creams.   Another notable ingredient is rosehip seed oil.  It has wonderful antioxidant properties, and thus is used in many anti-aging formulas.  And the final rose component is rosewater, an ingredient with timeless appeal which was a great favorite of Cleopatra’s.  Rosewater has its origins in ancient Iran, where its use dates back 2,500 years.

To complement the rose’s natural beauty, I have added essential oils of rosewood, clary sage and geranium, as well as rejuvenating carrot seed oil.  I will go into more detail with these ingredients in a another post, but for now I must sign off and figure out how to post this! Wish me luck!

Here’s hoping your Valentines Day is full of love, in it’s many many forms!